AOQ Review 2-3: "School Hard"

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Arbitrar Of Quality

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Feb 3, 2006, 12:08:41 AM2/3/06
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A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
threads.


BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Season Two, Episode 3: "School Hard"
(or "Cuz if you wanna win, you gotta school hard")
Writer: David Greenwalt; story by Greenwalt and Joss Whedon
Director: John T. Kretcher

If nothing else, _Buffy_ likes to subvert expectations. The season
premiere seemed to be building up to a return of Season One's Master
as the main villain, and then changed that up, leaving Colin The
"Annoying One" as the one in the central position. And now, in the
third episode of the year, a couple of new characters are introduced
and immediately leapfrog into the position of big recurring nemeses.
Just a little bit of a different way to do things.

I'm not sure if the show really needs a "main" villain at all
given that the heroes are a lot more interesting than the non-Darla
baddies anyway. I guess it helps when designing ongoing stories. But
Spike and Drusilla should be okay in that position; no worse than the
Master was, in any case. The scene in which they're introduced is
really a lot of fun, incorporating discussions of the crucifixion,
Woodstock, daisies, and so on in the kind of dizzy wordplay explosion
that ME shows do from time to time.

>From there, though... I dunno. Spike's sense of fun is a nice change
from the ritual-obsessed vampires we've seen so far. [I should note
that Mrs. Quality tends to hate watching the vampires on the show (she
generally hates fantasy that doesn't incorporate the words
"Harry" and "Potter", so it's interesting that she's
enjoying BTVS), but kinda likes Spike for reasons she can't really
explain.] He certainly has charm. But he's really just another
stock character, at least as portrayed in "School Hard." He's
arrogant and gets off on hurting people. So he throws people into walls
and such for no special reason, repeatedly. And that's about it.
Drusilla is of course the one who's not quite right in the head, so
her scenes are all written to feel a little "off." She toes the
line between interesting and irritating in a way reminiscent of
characters like _Firefly_'s River Tam (although River was much more
interesting and less annoying than D.). So, definite potential and
definite room for improvement with this pair, whom we're sure to see
again.

[In this case, not being a 100%-naïve viewer lets me be more
forgiving, because if, say, a character's photo is splattered all
over the promotional art for the series as a whole, I just assume s/he
will become plenty developed over the years. Of course, the flipside
is that just scrolling past story summaries of Season Seven fanfic
(before I decided to watch the series myself) told me way more than
I'd prefer to know at the moment.]

So the vampires stage an invasion of SHS at a time when Buffy is once
again trying to juggle way too many things at once. We've seen her
take vampires too lightly for such reasons before too. The scenes
involving preparations for Parents' Night are pretty good overall (I
liked the girls going after Xander for saying "what could go
wrong?" and the lemonade gag was silly but fun.) One practice I'm
not overly fond of is having characters "humorously" say things
that sound so insanely awkward that it'd be hard to imagine them
coming from even the most unsure-tongued of real adolescents, and then
have whoever they're talking to accept the explanation anyway. The
best example in this show is the "you haven't seen the boiler
room" bit; probably the most painful example for the series as whole
would be the "no clocks in my house" thing from "First Date"
last season. So, I do wish the writers would stop doing that.

Once the vampires show up to party, SH turns into a long set of chaotic
action pieces. Not much actual violence is done considering how bad
things could have gotten, but there's a lot of running, hiding,
forging alternate paths between points A and B, and so on. This is
done in rapid-fire bursts of short scenes, which sometimes feels
confusing and/or unfocused. I really had (and have) no clue how the
school is laid out, or where anything is supposed to be in relation to
anything else. There's not a whole lot of character work or dialogue
beyond the likes of "look out!" and "I'll do [whatever], you
stay here!" It's action largely without context (although there
are a couple interesting moments towards the end, TBD below). So I
wasn't really feeling it on a visceral level, like in those superior
shows when the character work rises up to meet the demands of the
visual showpiece scenes.

Snyder's using PCP as an explanation is a pretty clever way of at
least having the populace notice the melty-face thing. And the fact
that he and the police chief deliberately keep things quiet at the end
rather than "forgetting" might go somewhere in terms of making
Snyder a believer and/or changing the way he relates to the Slayer.

The end of the show with Joyce being the one to save Buffy is
definitely a good moment. The scene afterward suggests that even
though Joyce will probably never be totally in-the-know, she really
should feel differently about Buffy in terms of physical safety.
It's now clear to her that Buffy can handle herself in a fight and
behaves like a hero, and she should at least suspect that some of the
trouble her daughter gets into comes from self defense/doing the right
thing. Let's hope we see the ramifications of that in the future.

Our favorite mere mortals seem to have been taking their action hero
pills this week, between Joyce, Xander's stake delivery service, and
Willow's unorthodox choice of weaponry. That's okay to see, in
moderation.

Angelus gets a fairly ambiguous role... like Xander says, he should
wear one of those collars with bells. He's seen laughing and
(apparently) enjoying himself for what I believe is the first time.
This scene is handled really well, since his lines about putting on an
innocent poor-poor-pitiful-me act raise just enough nagging doubts
about what we thought we knew about him. We (and Xander) are still
inclined to trust him in life-and-death situations, but become a little
less sure while he's giving his performance. And same with the new
questions it raises. We (and Xander) hope he's just kidding about
how he'd have played things if Spike accepted him, but who knows?
Obviously, his exact relationship to Spike is still unclear, and sure
to be elucidated in the episodes to come.

Um, so what actually happened to Colin at the end? Did Spike kill him
somehow? If the final pan-back with him missing from the cage was
supposed to show something, I didn't get it.

I don't really have anything else to say that is either relevant or
true. There're implications for the future, but the bulk of the show
isn't worth talking about to great excess,


So....

One-sentence summary: Interesting, but kinda a mess.

AOQ rating: Decent

[Season Two so far:
1) "When She Was Bad" - Good
2) "Some Assembly Required" - Weak
3) "School Hard" - Decent]

Don Sample

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Feb 3, 2006, 12:44:21 AM2/3/06
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In article <1138943321.8...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> Drusilla is of course the one who's not quite right in the head, so
> her scenes are all written to feel a little "off." She toes the
> line between interesting and irritating in a way reminiscent of

> characters like Firefly 's River Tam (although River was much more


> interesting and less annoying than D.). So, definite potential and
> definite room for improvement with this pair, whom we're sure to see
> again.

Yes, Dru was very much a prototype for River. The same crazy psychic
vibe.

> Snyder's using PCP as an explanation is a pretty clever way of at
> least having the populace notice the melty-face thing. And the fact
> that he and the police chief deliberately keep things quiet at the end
> rather than "forgetting" might go somewhere in terms of making
> Snyder a believer and/or changing the way he relates to the Slayer.

It becomes clear here that a lot of the Sunnydale "forgetfulness" isn't
really people forgetting. The authorities are deliberately covering
things up.


> Our favorite mere mortals seem to have been taking their action hero
> pills this week, between Joyce, Xander's stake delivery service, and
> Willow's unorthodox choice of weaponry. That's okay to see, in
> moderation.

I also really liked her "Ask for some aspirin" moment with Cordy.


> Um, so what actually happened to Colin at the end? Did Spike kill him
> somehow? If the final pan-back with him missing from the cage was
> supposed to show something, I didn't get it.

Spike lifted the cage up into a beam of sunlight, and he was
incinerated. We see wisps of smoke wafting away in the final scene.


> AOQ rating: Decent

Hmm... this is one of my early favourites from season 2. I rate it much
higher.

--
Quando omni flunkus moritati
Visit the Buffy Body Count at <http://homepage.mac.com/dsample/>

Arbitrar Of Quality

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Feb 3, 2006, 12:55:01 AM2/3/06
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> > AOQ rating: Decent
>
> Hmm... this is one of my early favourites from season 2. I rate it much
> higher.

I'm kinda expecting that some people will take issue with the rating
for this one. But my mind is made up.

-AOQ

George W Harris

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Feb 3, 2006, 1:02:00 AM2/3/06
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On 2 Feb 2006 21:08:41 -0800, "Arbitrar Of Quality"
<tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

:Um, so what actually happened to Colin at the end? Did Spike kill him


:somehow? If the final pan-back with him missing from the cage was
:supposed to show something, I didn't get it.

He raised the cage up into the sun streaming
through a window.

Favorite exchange in this episode was Cordy
praying in the supply closet and WIllow asking her to
ask for some aspirin.
--
/bud...@nirvana.net/h:k

George W. Harris For actual email address, replace each 'u' with an 'i'

Don Sample

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Feb 3, 2006, 1:52:37 AM2/3/06
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In article <1138943321.8...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

School Hard also has something that we rarely see in Buffy: a vampire
who has the sense to run away (after her attempt to stab Buffy in the
back didn't work.) Sheila was a genius among vampires. None of the
silly "challenge the Slayer to a fair fight" nonsense, or let her know
that you plan to attack (even if you get the day wrong.) Sheila had a
smart plan: A) Sneak up and attack from behind, and B) if an attack
doesn't work, get the hell out of Dodge.

We've seen vampires who mastered A, and vampires who mastered B. Sheila
is nearly unique in mastering both.

kenm47

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Feb 3, 2006, 4:42:58 AM2/3/06
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"One-sentence summary: Interesting, but kinda a mess.
AOQ rating: Decent "

OK. I'll read the rest later.

"Decent"? I don't see how SH can ever be less than Excellent. Most
Excellent? Maybe not. But certainly Excellent.

Ken (Brooklyn)

shuggie

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Feb 3, 2006, 5:05:06 AM2/3/06
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Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:


> If nothing else, _Buffy_ likes to subvert expectations. The season
> premiere seemed to be building up to a return of Season One's Master
> as the main villain, and then changed that up, leaving Colin The
> "Annoying One" as the one in the central position. And now, in the
> third episode of the year, a couple of new characters are introduced
> and immediately leapfrog into the position of big recurring nemeses.
> Just a little bit of a different way to do things.
>
> I'm not sure if the show really needs a "main" villain at all
> given that the heroes are a lot more interesting than the non-Darla
> baddies anyway.

I'm not sure it does but it does want to have ongoing stories so...

> I guess it helps when designing ongoing stories.

I think that's true. ;)

> But
> Spike and Drusilla should be okay in that position; no worse than the
> Master was, in any case. The scene in which they're introduced is
> really a lot of fun, incorporating discussions of the crucifixion,
> Woodstock, daisies, and so on in the kind of dizzy wordplay explosion
> that ME shows do from time to time.
>
> >From there, though... I dunno. Spike's sense of fun is a nice change
> from the ritual-obsessed vampires we've seen so far. [I should note
> that Mrs. Quality tends to hate watching the vampires on the show (she
> generally hates fantasy that doesn't incorporate the words
> "Harry" and "Potter", so it's interesting that she's
> enjoying BTVS), but kinda likes Spike for reasons she can't really
> explain.] He certainly has charm.

Spike and Dru are quite literally a response to the kind of criticism
you were making of The Master - that he's too much the standard horror
movie vampire. Joss says on one of the commentaries that he designed
them to be a bit more in sync with the rest of the show 'younger' (in
apparent if not real age), hipper etc.

>But he's really just another
> stock character, at least as portrayed in "School Hard." He's
> arrogant and gets off on hurting people. So he throws people into walls
> and such for no special reason, repeatedly.

Actually he does have a special reason and I think it's important to
mention it. Spike is a vampire. He's a demon in a human body. He
doesn't need a reason to randomly hurt people - he gets off on it as
you say. He delights in chaos and mayhem.

This is important because although we tend to ascribe human qualities
to vampires - especially recurring ones whom we see more of - they're
not fully human. They're something different. Debates have raged over
the years (and will continue) as to exactly what the differences are,
but never forget that when you see Spike enjoying a spot of violence,
it's not just that it's convenient to the plot, it's that it's in the
nature of vampires to be like that.

> And that's about it.
> Drusilla is of course the one who's not quite right in the head, so
> her scenes are all written to feel a little "off." She toes the
> line between interesting and irritating in a way reminiscent of
> characters like _Firefly_'s River Tam (although River was much more
> interesting and less annoying than D.). So, definite potential and
> definite room for improvement with this pair, whom we're sure to see
> again.
>

Dru, like a lot of fictional crazy people, can be by turns interesting
and annoying depending on how it's played.

> [In this case, not being a 100%-naïve viewer lets me be more
> forgiving, because if, say, a character's photo is splattered all
> over the promotional art for the series as a whole, I just assume s/he
> will become plenty developed over the years. Of course, the flipside
> is that just scrolling past story summaries of Season Seven fanfic
> (before I decided to watch the series myself) told me way more than
> I'd prefer to know at the moment.]
>

fanfic is always more than I want to know.

> So the vampires stage an invasion of SHS at a time when Buffy is once
> again trying to juggle way too many things at once. We've seen her
> take vampires too lightly for such reasons before too. The scenes
> involving preparations for Parents' Night are pretty good overall (I
> liked the girls going after Xander for saying "what could go
> wrong?" and the lemonade gag was silly but fun.) One practice I'm
> not overly fond of is having characters "humorously" say things
> that sound so insanely awkward that it'd be hard to imagine them
> coming from even the most unsure-tongued of real adolescents, and then
> have whoever they're talking to accept the explanation anyway. The
> best example in this show is the "you haven't seen the boiler
> room" bit; probably the most painful example for the series as whole
> would be the "no clocks in my house" thing from "First Date"
> last season. So, I do wish the writers would stop doing that.
>

You want them to stop being funny? Seriously, that's just one of those
subjective sense of humour things.

<snip stuff that I can only respond to with spoilers and so won't>

> Um, so what actually happened to Colin at the end? Did Spike kill him
> somehow? If the final pan-back with him missing from the cage was
> supposed to show something, I didn't get it.
>

As has been said he was hoisted into a shaft of sunlight. One of the
things about the early seasons is that if possible vampires often get
'dusted' off-screen. IIRC it cost $5000 a time to do the computer
effect for them to go poof so they tended to ration them. Colin's death
seems like it would have been one of them but I can only think they
must have been over budget on the episode.

BTW did you notice anything about the angles they shot Colin from? The
main reason they got rid of him, apart from not being as good an actor
as hoped, was that he'd grown quite significantly between the end of S1
and S2 - as children, but not vampires, are wont to do.

> I don't really have anything else to say that is either relevant or
> true. There're implications for the future, but the bulk of the show
> isn't worth talking about to great excess,
>
>
> So....
>
> One-sentence summary: Interesting, but kinda a mess.
>
> AOQ rating: Decent
>

I voted 4.25 for this with the comment "It's a weaker S2 ep which means
it wipes the floor with 90% of what's on TV". That feels a little high
now but it is still a good ep and Spike is fun. I think perhaps to
enjoy it that much again I'd need to put myself in a frame of mind
where I try to forget what I know about Spike and enjoy his
introduction all over again.

kenm47

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Feb 3, 2006, 5:21:12 AM2/3/06
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As I suspected, it is now impossible to remain unspoiled in some
material ways.

When S&D were introduced in S2E3, there was no "a character's photo is
splattered all over the promotional art for the series as a whole." We
knew them from a hole in the wall. Their introduction from the teaser
crash into the Sunnydale sign was palpable electricity.

Here were two bad guys we wanted to know about. And Spike explains it
ALL with:

"A Slayer with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn't in the
brochure."

But I forget you have no background with the movie, nor have you seen
the teaser that first aired before WttH as to some of the prior
Slayers. Buffy is unique in The Slayer line.

"So he throws people into walls and such for no special reason,
repeatedly. And that's about it."

Umm. No. He's one charming but nasty son of a bitch. He's funny, loving
of DRu, and brutal - his kiling of the guy in the school for NO reason,
he's not even going to feed, shows that.

And the still brilliant comic moments, from the crucifixion speech
through to Xander rummaging in Buffy's purse for a stake but first
pulling out a tampon, to
Snyder, Cordy praying, Joyce being the hero of the moment, PCP
silliness, to the unexpected (but necessary - real kids don't stay
small like immortal vamps do, Anne Rice did a nice tyrn on that) frying
of the Annoying One (that's smoke in the cage at the end showing us
that AO has gone poof in the rays of the sun) .

And the Ms. Edith business, and the sadism of the two, their total lack
of empathy for the humans? Wow!

Maybe some day if you ever rewatch the series (which seems doubtful)
and take your after acquired knowledge to this episode you'll see what
amazingly great TV it was in 1997 when it first aired. Decent? Not in
the same room.

Yes, not everything always works in the episodes, and mistakes are
made. BUT

I fear you're just going to be one of those people who just doesn't get
it the way some others do. That what's to come just won't hit you like
it hit others of us. That's too bad.

Ken (Brooklyn)

kenm47

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Feb 3, 2006, 5:25:14 AM2/3/06
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"Colin's death seems like it would have been one of them but I can only
think they
must have been over budget on the episode."

I think there was still a concern because he was a "child."

"I think perhaps to
enjoy it that much again I'd need to put myself in a frame of mind
where I try to forget what I know about Spike and enjoy his
introduction all over again."

I do that all the time. Works for me.

Ken (Brooklyn)

kenm47

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Feb 3, 2006, 5:59:04 AM2/3/06
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"Yes, Dru was very much a prototype for River. The same crazy psychic
vibe."

I won't go with prototype. At best a variation on a theme.

I'm still a little (not a lot) disappointed that River did not turn out
to be a future post-Fray Slayer with The Rievers as vamps/demons in
space..

I guess the movie also never really explained those guys with hands of
blue, or did it?

Ken (Brooklyn)

Don Sample

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Feb 3, 2006, 6:13:56 AM2/3/06
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In article <1138964344....@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
"kenm47" <ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

> I'm still a little (not a lot) disappointed that River did not turn out
> to be a future post-Fray Slayer with The Rievers as vamps/demons in
> space..
>
> I guess the movie also never really explained those guys with hands of
> blue, or did it?
>
> Ken (Brooklyn)

The Blue Glove Group apparently got explained in the comic books that
were set between the end of the series, and the start of the movie.
Coming soon as a graphic novel.

Carlos Moreno

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:35:37 AM2/3/06
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Don Sample wrote:

>>AOQ rating: Decent
>
> Hmm... this is one of my early favourites from season 2. I rate it much
> higher.

For some reason, I'm particularly unable to get the original posts in
these threads -- I think my newsreader is also discarding no less than
75% of these threads!! :-(

But I'm really scratching my head looking for a *sane* reason why
someone would rate this lower than the second best rating available
(I think that was "Excellent" according to AOQ's scale, right?)...

Hmmm, is it possible that it's mostly in retrospective (after knowing
more about the show) that this episode stands out as particularly
good?

Carlos
--

Mike Zeares

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:41:56 AM2/3/06
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shuggie wrote:

> Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> >
> > One-sentence summary: Interesting, but kinda a mess.
> >
> > AOQ rating: Decent
> >
>
> I voted 4.25 for this with the comment "It's a weaker S2 ep which means
> it wipes the floor with 90% of what's on TV". That feels a little high
> now but it is still a good ep and Spike is fun. I think perhaps to
> enjoy it that much again I'd need to put myself in a frame of mind
> where I try to forget what I know about Spike and enjoy his
> introduction all over again.

This is one of those eps that lots of people have always raved about,
but which sort of leaves me going, "what's the big deal?" I can't
really remember my initial impressions (few of the early S2 really
"hit" with me; I actually taped over the eps, and then had to try to
get them on repeats when I hit the "I must have every ep on tape or
die!" stage later on), although they were probably positive,
considering how much I disliked SAR. Today I think I'd rate it
somewhere between Decent and Good. It does its job pretty well. It
introduces Spike and Dru, gets rid of the Annoying One, and further
develops Snyder as a nemesis. There's an underlying metaphor of
today's over-scheduled, stressed-out teen, but, like most eps that
Greenwalt was involved on, it doesn't really hit the metaphor very
hard. The biggest revelations were that some of the Sunnydale
authorities know what's going on, and that Spike and Angel had a past.


And yet, I just don't care about it very much. *shrug*

-- Mike Zeares

Espen Schjønberg

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:47:08 AM2/3/06
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really necessary to start to go for spoilers of Firefly in another
thread, just like that?

OK, I guess you have all seen it. I have only seen the movie, wich was
fun. No Tv-channel here has sent the series. Giving it up, will end up
ordering it someday...

--
Espen


Noe er Feil[tm]

kenm47

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:57:48 AM2/3/06
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"And yet, I just don't care about it very much. *shrug* "

Really? That is surprising.

Just the how can Buffy maintain her secret identity while saving
everyone's ass, what did Joyce see through the hole in the door, what's
up with Snyder, what's Dru loving Spike's deal re "Women!", are all
interesting questions for further development. Not to mention that
"sire" issue.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Daniel Damouth

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:58:11 AM2/3/06
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I'm with Mike Z. on this one. "School Hard" was never one of my
favorites. I laugh when Xander is madly looking for a stake in Buffy's
bag, finds a tampon, and wigs. Other than that, very little stands out
as special for me. The episode is important for what it introduces,
but of all of season 2, it's probably my least watched.

-Dan Damouth

vague disclaimer

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:50:59 AM2/3/06
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In article <1138943321.8...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 3: "School Hard"
> (or "Cuz if you wanna win, you gotta school hard")
> Writer: David Greenwalt; story by Greenwalt and Joss Whedon
> Director: John T. Kretcher
>

><snip>


>
> One-sentence summary: Interesting, but kinda a mess.
>
> AOQ rating: Decent
>
> [Season Two so far:
> 1) "When She Was Bad" - Good
> 2) "Some Assembly Required" - Weak
> 3) "School Hard" - Decent]

Despite Drusilla van Dyke, this is the episode that convinced me that
there was something a bit special (as opposed to merely entertaining)
about BtVS. I was starting to get concerned at the Annoying
One-staying-as-same-villain-as-last-season (mostly because of heebee
jeebee-inducing memories of when an earlier The Master became a
too-often recurring baddy in Dr Who). The infinitely cooler new villain
not only offed him, but did it in a splendidly cold-blooded manner. I
felt it was a nicely powerful statement of intent.
--
A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend

vague disclaimer

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:52:31 AM2/3/06
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In article <1138961106.2...@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"shuggie" <shu...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > Um, so what actually happened to Colin at the end? Did Spike kill him
> > somehow? If the final pan-back with him missing from the cage was
> > supposed to show something, I didn't get it.
> >
>
> As has been said he was hoisted into a shaft of sunlight. One of the
> things about the early seasons is that if possible vampires often get
> 'dusted' off-screen. IIRC it cost $5000 a time to do the computer
> effect for them to go poof so they tended to ration them. Colin's death
> seems like it would have been one of them but I can only think they
> must have been over budget on the episode.

Also, the character may nave been a vampire, but he was also a kid. Have
we ever seen a sub-teen dusted? I wonder if the network baulked at the
explicitness?

kenm47

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Feb 3, 2006, 9:00:34 AM2/3/06
to
"Hmmm, is it possible that it's mostly in retrospective (after knowing
more about the show) that this episode stands out as particularly
good?

Carlos"

For me, no. This is an episode I remember really enjoying when it was
first run. The shot of Spike and Dru in embrace and turning towards the
camera was so terrific and everything else was gravy.

Possibly it's better on the re-watching years later, but it was plenty
good then, IMO.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Espen Schjønberg

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Feb 3, 2006, 9:17:55 AM2/3/06
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On 03.02.2006 14:35, Carlos Moreno wrote:

>
> Hmmm, is it possible that it's mostly in retrospective (after knowing
> more about the show) that this episode stands out as particularly
> good?

This was one of the OK eps for me, good Buffy, not excellent. (That is
"not excellent _on the Buffy-scale_ of course;-))

It's growing a bit, but I don't see the magnificence here though.

I find it at 80 in my old list, at <41c858b6....@nntp.uio.no> .
Which is really good, and I would perhaps push it even a bit higher now.
Actually, I would have done some changes if I had the time.

--
Espen

rrh...@acme.com

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 9:31:27 AM2/3/06
to

Carlos Moreno wrote:
> Don Sample wrote:
>
> >>AOQ rating: Decent
> >
> > Hmm... this is one of my early favourites from season 2. I rate it much
> > higher.
>
> For some reason, I'm particularly unable to get the original posts in
> these threads -- I think my newsreader is also discarding no less than
> 75% of these threads!! :-(

Have you tried Google Groups?

> But I'm really scratching my head looking for a *sane* reason why
> someone would rate this lower than the second best rating available
> (I think that was "Excellent" according to AOQ's scale, right?)...

This is one of the few ratings so far where I disagree with Mr.
Quality. Like you, I would put it at the second highest rating. But,

> Hmmm, is it possible that it's mostly in retrospective (after knowing
> more about the show) that this episode stands out as particularly
> good?

I think you may be onto something here. I was filling in earlier
seasons in my viewing pleasure when I saw S2, so I was hardly
unspoiled. We may be raising out estimation of this episode based on
our later estimations of some of the characters. I will have to go
back and re-watch it this weekend.

Richard R. Hershberger

shuggie

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 10:00:12 AM2/3/06
to

vague disclaimer wrote:

Now that you mention it, that does seem more likely.

Mike Zeares

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 10:59:44 AM2/3/06
to

kenm47 wrote:
> "And yet, I just don't care about it very much. *shrug* "
>
> Really? That is surprising.

People have different responses to the same thing.

-- Mike Zeares, Mr. Obvious

kenm47

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Feb 3, 2006, 11:41:08 AM2/3/06
to

Well, duh! :-)

Ken (Brooklyn)

William George Ferguson

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Feb 3, 2006, 12:29:25 PM2/3/06
to
Don Sample <dsa...@synapse.net> wrote:

>In article <1138943321.8...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> "Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
>
>School Hard also has something that we rarely see in Buffy: a vampire
>who has the sense to run away (after her attempt to stab Buffy in the
>back didn't work.) Sheila was a genius among vampires. None of the
>silly "challenge the Slayer to a fair fight" nonsense, or let her know
>that you plan to attack (even if you get the day wrong.) Sheila had a
>smart plan: A) Sneak up and attack from behind, and B) if an attack
>doesn't work, get the hell out of Dodge.
>
>We've seen vampires who mastered A, and vampires who mastered B. Sheila
>is nearly unique in mastering both.

I really liked Sheila (who is, as far as we know, still unalive)

I loved the pre-vamping scenes with Buffy

Sheila: "I didn't stab anyone with a trowel. They were pruning shears."


Buffy: "Well, that was never proven. The Fire Marshall said it could of
been mice."
Snyder: "Mice?"
Buffy: "Mice that were smoking?"


And the wonderful exchange later.

Sheila: "Did you really burn down a school building one time?"
Buffy: "Well, not actually one time."
Sheila: [pause] "Cool."


--
HERBERT
1996 - 1997
Beloved Mascot
Delightful Meal
He fed the Pack
A little

William George Ferguson

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 1:43:29 PM2/3/06
to

Also, it should be added that one of the drivers of this plot development
was, as Joss put it, "Vampires don't age, but child actors do." Andrew
Ferchland, who played the Annoying One (and boy have we been holding off
on using that descriptive), had a multi-inch growth spurt between when
they finished shooting season one and when they started shooting season
two. You (Mr. Quality) probably didn't notice, but all of Ferchland's
scenes with other actors in WSWB and School Hard were shot with him
sitting down on a box or something, to disguise this.

EGK

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 2:31:42 PM2/3/06
to

For an awful lot of people this is the episode where Buffy became something
more than just another cute show. I don't mean just the Spike worshippers
either.

I really can't imagine anyone (Arbiter in this case) believing BTVS is
anything more than a run of the mill tv show without rating this episode as
excellent.

Spike: From now on, we're gonna have a little less ritual... (stops
pulling the chain) ...and a little more fun around here.
--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"There would be a lot more civility in this world if people
didn't take that as an invitation to walk all over you"
(Calvin and Hobbes)

Clairel

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 3:25:32 PM2/3/06
to

--To me, the fun and fascinating thing is rewatching "School Hard"
while bearing in mind all that I know about Spike NOW.

I came late to "School Hard"; I missed it when it first aired in
October 1997, and as a result I was confused for a long time about who
Spike and Drusilla were and why they were in the show. A lot of season
2 didn't make sense to me without having seen "School Hard." I never
did see "School Hard" until 1991, when I acquired recordings of old
BtVS episodes for the first time.

Since I had to get along without "School Hard" for so long, I'm not the
world's biggest fan of it. It didn't color my whole view of season 2
the way it did for some other people who saw it in October 1997: I
mean the whole "Wow, we've got some hip, unconventional vampire
villains who aren't ritualistic!" reaction. I missed out on all that
at the time season 2 was airing.

But in retrospect I can certainly see that it was a big deal, and I'm
kind of surprised it isn't a big deal to AOQ, who seemed to be craving
exactly that kind of change in BtVS (given his complaints about The
Master and the other vamps from season 1). AOQ has missed out on some
really great bits in "School Hard," which I may write about later if I
have time.

Clairel

John Briggs

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Feb 3, 2006, 3:27:58 PM2/3/06
to

It wouldn't have been a simple dusting - it would have been bursting into
flames. Perhaps stunt-children come expensive :-)
--
John Briggs


Apteryx

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Feb 3, 2006, 3:32:21 PM2/3/06
to
"kenm47" <ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
news:1138959778.0...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...

Funnily enough, for once I'd agree with AOQ's one-sentence summary. There is
a lot of good pieces here, but for me it doesn't hang together well. But I
think I would translate my numeric rating to "Good" rather than "Decent".
Overall, it is my 75th favourite BtVS episode (just outside the top half)
and 15th best in Season 2.

--
Apteryx


Shuggie

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 3:36:36 PM2/3/06
to

And it would still have been a (costly) effect, not a stunt-man in a
fire-suit. We know this from what they did later.

--
Shuggie

blog: http://www.livejournal.com/users/shuggie/

JJ Karhu

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Feb 3, 2006, 4:48:30 PM2/3/06
to
On 3 Feb 2006 02:21:12 -0800, "kenm47" <ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>Yes, not everything always works in the episodes, and mistakes are
>made. BUT
>
>I fear you're just going to be one of those people who just doesn't get
>it the way some others do. That what's to come just won't hit you like
>it hit others of us. That's too bad.

The great thing about Buffy is that different people like different
things.

AoQ seems to rate the episodes based on their entirety -- how well
does the package work? And the Die Hard bits of School Hard aren't
really that well executed.

There are flashes of brilliance in the episode, but they don't raise
the episode up there as a whole.

And being spoiled on the importance of some characters certainly
colors the first impression.

// JJ -- I trust there will be episodes yet that AoQ will adore. We
may not know what they are, though :)

Melissa....@gmail.com

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Feb 3, 2006, 5:14:34 PM2/3/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 3: "School Hard"
> (or "Cuz if you wanna win, you gotta school hard")
> Writer: David Greenwalt; story by Greenwalt and Joss Whedon
> Director: John T. Kretcher
>
> If nothing else, _Buffy_ likes to subvert expectations. The season
> premiere seemed to be building up to a return of Season One's Master
> as the main villain, and then changed that up, leaving Colin The
> "Annoying One" as the one in the central position. And now, in the
> third episode of the year, a couple of new characters are introduced
> and immediately leapfrog into the position of big recurring nemeses.
> Just a little bit of a different way to do things.

Yes, different and MUCH better.
>
> I'm not sure if the show really needs a "main" villain at all
> given that the heroes are a lot more interesting than the non-Darla
> baddies anyway. I guess it helps when designing ongoing stories. But
> Spike and Drusilla should be okay in that position; no worse than the
> Master was, in any case.

I really hope you get a kick out them as much as I did.

The scene in which they're introduced is
> really a lot of fun, incorporating discussions of the crucifixion,
> Woodstock, daisies, and so on in the kind of dizzy wordplay explosion
> that ME shows do from time to time.

Those are still a few of my favorite lines.
>
>>From there, though... I dunno. Spike's sense of fun is a nice change
> from the ritual-obsessed vampires we've seen so far. [I should note
> that Mrs. Quality tends to hate watching the vampires on the show (she
> generally hates fantasy that doesn't incorporate the words
> "Harry" and "Potter", so it's interesting that she's
> enjoying BTVS), but kinda likes Spike for reasons she can't really
> explain.] He certainly has charm.

He does have that affect of people. :)

But he's really just another
> stock character, at least as portrayed in "School Hard."

Correct. At least back then he was supposed to be a stock character.

He's
> arrogant and gets off on hurting people. So he throws people into walls


> and such for no special reason, repeatedly. And that's about it.

> Drusilla is of course the one who's not quite right in the head, so
> her scenes are all written to feel a little "off." She toes the
> line between interesting and irritating in a way reminiscent of
> characters like _Firefly_'s River Tam (although River was much more
> interesting and less annoying than D.). So, definite potential and
> definite room for improvement with this pair, whom we're sure to see
> again.

Yep. Dru is crazy. Spike is a jerk. Those two wacky vampires....
>
> [In this case, not being a 100%-naïve viewer lets me be more
> forgiving, because if, say, a character's photo is splattered all
> over the promotional art for the series as a whole, I just assume s/he
> will become plenty developed over the years. Of course, the flipside
> is that just scrolling past story summaries of Season Seven fanfic
> (before I decided to watch the series myself) told me way more than
> I'd prefer to know at the moment.]

If you found this on fanfiction.net it may not have been very telling
anyway. Some of those ff.net writers can seriously butcher the goodness
that is the Buffyverse.
>
> So the vampires stage an invasion of SHS at a time when Buffy is once
> again trying to juggle way too many things at once. We've seen her
> take vampires too lightly for such reasons before too. The scenes
> involving preparations for Parents' Night are pretty good overall (I
> liked the girls going after Xander for saying "what could go
> wrong?" and the lemonade gag was silly but fun.) One practice I'm
> not overly fond of is having characters "humorously" say things
> that sound so insanely awkward that it'd be hard to imagine them
> coming from even the most unsure-tongued of real adolescents, and then
> have whoever they're talking to accept the explanation anyway.

You have obviously never watched Dawson's Creek. If it comes to one
show where the teen dialog is completely unbelievable, it is that one.
After witnessing that show I forgave Buffy immediately for any non-teen
speak as it was more believable with Buffy than it ever was with
Dawson.

The
> best example in this show is the "you haven't seen the boiler
> room" bit; probably the most painful example for the series as whole
> would be the "no clocks in my house" thing from "First Date"
> last season. So, I do wish the writers would stop doing that.
>
> Once the vampires show up to party, SH turns into a long set of chaotic
> action pieces. Not much actual violence is done considering how bad
> things could have gotten, but there's a lot of running, hiding,
> forging alternate paths between points A and B, and so on. This is
> done in rapid-fire bursts of short scenes, which sometimes feels
> confusing and/or unfocused. I really had (and have) no clue how the
> school is laid out, or where anything is supposed to be in relation to
> anything else. There's not a whole lot of character work or dialogue
> beyond the likes of "look out!" and "I'll do [whatever], you
> stay here!" It's action largely without context (although there
> are a couple interesting moments towards the end, TBD below). So I
> wasn't really feeling it on a visceral level, like in those superior
> shows when the character work rises up to meet the demands of the
> visual showpiece scenes.

Yeah, but you gotta love Buffy's take charge attitude. She was so
convincing that event the principal finally listened to her. (of course
that was after he almost became vamp food).
>
> Snyder's using PCP as an explanation is a pretty clever way of at
> least having the populace notice the melty-face thing. And the fact
> that he and the police chief deliberately keep things quiet at the end
> rather than "forgetting" might go somewhere in terms of making
> Snyder a believer and/or changing the way he relates to the Slayer.

Yes, not all of Sunnydale is turning a blind eye. However, they do like
to keep sweeping it under the rug.
>
> The end of the show with Joyce being the one to save Buffy is
> definitely a good moment. The scene afterward suggests that even
> though Joyce will probably never be totally in-the-know, she really
> should feel differently about Buffy in terms of physical safety.
> It's now clear to her that Buffy can handle herself in a fight and
> behaves like a hero, and she should at least suspect that some of the
> trouble her daughter gets into comes from self defense/doing the right
> thing. Let's hope we see the ramifications of that in the future.
>
> Our favorite mere mortals seem to have been taking their action hero
> pills this week, between Joyce, Xander's stake delivery service, and
> Willow's unorthodox choice of weaponry. That's okay to see, in
> moderation.


> Angelus gets a fairly ambiguous role... like Xander says, he should
> wear one of those collars with bells. He's seen laughing and
> (apparently) enjoying himself for what I believe is the first time.
> This scene is handled really well, since his lines about putting on an
> innocent poor-poor-pitiful-me act raise just enough nagging doubts
> about what we thought we knew about him. We (and Xander) are still
> inclined to trust him in life-and-death situations, but become a little
> less sure while he's giving his performance. And same with the new
> questions it raises. We (and Xander) hope he's just kidding about
> how he'd have played things if Spike accepted him, but who knows?

It did make me wonder the exact same thing.

> Obviously, his exact relationship to Spike is still unclear, and sure
> to be elucidated in the episodes to come.

Well, there was the "sire" and "yoda" comments, so obviously they have
history.


>
> Um, so what actually happened to Colin at the end? Did Spike kill him
> somehow? If the final pan-back with him missing from the cage was
> supposed to show something, I didn't get it.
>

Colin is now just a little pile of dust thanks to the sunlight that
peaked through the ceiling.

> I don't really have anything else to say that is either relevant or
> true. There're implications for the future, but the bulk of the show
> isn't worth talking about to great excess,
>

I'm going to have to watch this again before I comment more. I do
remember enjoying this episode but I can't remember if I enjoyed it as
much the first time as I did rewatching it after I knew much, much more
of the story.
>
> So....


>
> One-sentence summary: Interesting, but kinda a mess.
>
> AOQ rating: Decent

I give this one an excellent, but then again I'm not seeing it for the
first time...

Eric Hunter

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Feb 3, 2006, 7:11:59 PM2/3/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> A reminder: Please avoid spoilers for later episodes in these review
> threads.
>
>
> BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
> Season Two, Episode 3: "School Hard"
> (or "Cuz if you wanna win, you gotta school hard")
>
> If nothing else, _Buffy_ likes to subvert expectations.

Indeed.

> I'm not sure if the show really needs a "main" villain at all
> given that the heroes are a lot more interesting than the
> non-Darla baddies anyway.

The "Monster-of-the-Week" (MoW) does tend to be a
McGuffin, quite often, but the "Big-Bad", is usually
more interesting in a Darla-esque sort-of way.

> Spike and Drusilla should be okay in that position;
> no worse than the Master was, in any case.

Hmmm, I would argue that Spike and Dru exceeded the
Master on the basis of "School Hard" alone.

> The scene in which they're introduced is really a
> lot of fun, incorporating discussions of the crucifixion,
> Woodstock, daisies, and so on in the kind of dizzy
> wordplay explosion that ME shows do from time to time.

The way in which Spike "de-vamps" when he turns to look
at Dru is the moment that told me they would be something
special.

> Snyder's using PCP as an explanation is a pretty clever way of at
> least having the populace notice the melty-face thing. And the fact
> that he and the police chief deliberately keep things quiet at the end
> rather than "forgetting" might go somewhere in terms of making
> Snyder a believer and/or changing the way he relates to the Slayer.

Yes, the production staff seems to have realized that having
no-one remember what really happened makes it difficult
for experiences to cause changes in behavior.

Eric.
--

One Bit Shy

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Feb 3, 2006, 8:32:05 PM2/3/06
to
"vague disclaimer" <l64o...@dea.spamcon.org> wrote in message
news:l64o-1rj5-9780C...@mercury.nildram.net...

All of which may have been the reasons for it... but I rather like the end
result as is. I think it works well dramatically to see the result (the
smoke) rather than the deed. Lots of vamps get dusted on the show. This
was out of the ordinary and seemed - to me anyway - to add emphasis to the
deed. Particularly in the sense of things being different now.

OBS


One Bit Shy

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Feb 3, 2006, 9:08:26 PM2/3/06
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote in message
news:1138943321.8...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

<snip>

> So, definite potential and
> definite room for improvement with this pair, whom we're sure to see
> again.

I think one's reaction to this couple is the main determinant to how much
one likes the episode. You recognized a significant change occurred and
appreciated a number of other elements to the show, but evidently weren't
all that turned on by Spike and Dru.

Myself, I loved them immediately - right from Spike's entrance smashing
through the Sunnydale sign in his car. I like the way Spike carries an
attitude. (The Annoying One indeed.) His lack of regret - very much live
for the moment. And the way he stalks Buffy first. I like Dru's flavor of
insanity, the kind of childlike delight in evil. (Did you notice the gagged
dolls?) And I thought they were wonderful together - as tender a couple as
you can have with two evil demons.

When Dru first shows up, I like to imagine watching her and Spike from the
Annoying One's point of view. As they fawned over each other he had to have
been dumbfounded and kind of annoyed that these two nutcases had suddenly
appeared before him. But when their heads turned in unison looking straight
at him, abruptly bringing him into their crazy world, that must have been
disturbing. You wouldn't want to be those two's object of attention. (My
favorite moment.)

<snip>

> AOQ rating: Decent

Understandable if the two new bad guys didn't do it for you. By your scale
I'd rate it as excellent, but not one of those excellent plus exceptions you
mentioned back at the beginning.

OBS

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 11:46:20 PM2/3/06
to
shuggie wrote:

> Spike and Dru are quite literally a response to the kind of criticism
> you were making of The Master - that he's too much the standard horror
> movie vampire. Joss says on one of the commentaries that he designed
> them to be a bit more in sync with the rest of the show 'younger' (in
> apparent if not real age), hipper etc.

I'll grant that they fit the BTVS mold better. But my other problem
with the Master was that he was such a stock character. By mid-season
he'd turned into a fun stock character. By getting rid of him and
bringing in Spike, we've just traded one stock villain for another. I
tend to prefer Wisecracking Sadist to Ritualistic Eeeevil Maniac, but
what might really be nice is someone who has the same depth as the
heroes.

> Actually he does have a special reason and I think it's important to
> mention it. Spike is a vampire. He's a demon in a human body. He
> doesn't need a reason to randomly hurt people - he gets off on it as
> you say. He delights in chaos and mayhem.

The show has chosen to portray its vampires as pure unfeeling evil. In
some ways that's a shame.

> fanfic is always more than I want to know.

Heh.

-AOQ

Arbitrar Of Quality

unread,
Feb 3, 2006, 11:49:36 PM2/3/06
to
JJ Karhu wrote:
> On 3 Feb 2006 02:21:12 -0800, "kenm47" <ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> >Yes, not everything always works in the episodes, and mistakes are
> >made. BUT
> >
> >I fear you're just going to be one of those people who just doesn't get
> >it the way some others do. That what's to come just won't hit you like
> >it hit others of us. That's too bad.

There's one way to find out, yes? Also, regardless of what some of the
more melodramatically worded responses have suggested, this thread has
in fact demonstrated that serious BTVS fans exist who don't think
"School Hard" is the second coming of sliced bread.

> The great thing about Buffy is that different people like different
> things.
>
> AoQ seems to rate the episodes based on their entirety -- how well
> does the package work? And the Die Hard bits of School Hard aren't
> really that well executed.
>
> There are flashes of brilliance in the episode, but they don't raise
> the episode up there as a whole.

I couldn't have said it better.

-AOQ

KenM47

unread,
Feb 4, 2006, 12:10:56 AM2/4/06
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

>JJ Karhu wrote:
>> On 3 Feb 2006 02:21:12 -0800, "kenm47" <ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>> >Yes, not everything always works in the episodes, and mistakes are
>> >made. BUT
>> >
>> >I fear you're just going to be one of those people who just doesn't get
>> >it the way some others do. That what's to come just won't hit you like
>> >it hit others of us. That's too bad.
>
>There's one way to find out, yes? Also, regardless of what some of the
>more melodramatically worded responses have suggested, this thread has
>in fact demonstrated that serious BTVS fans exist who don't think
>"School Hard" is the second coming of sliced bread.
>


I don't suggest it is the second coming of sliced bread. I do think
it's way above "decent" which seems to be the old damning with faint
praise.

Hey! I may disagree with your conclusions, and even at times with your
tone and snark, but you gave me an excuse to dig out the DVDs and
other stuff, and to read thoughts here I hadn't seen before, and
engage in discussions regarding the early episodes (IIRC, I didn't
learn about the NG until the 3d season at the earliest, and possibly
not until the 4th). So, there's positives all around.

Maybe some time later you'll come back to this one, rewatch, and enjoy
it more. Maybe not. I'm still curious what an "unspoiled" 2006 newbie
has to say about the rest of Season 2.

You might also want to note the contribution to the show by the music
people (Beck and the guest bands) and the stunt people.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Mike Zeares

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Feb 4, 2006, 1:13:48 AM2/4/06
to

Daniel Damouth wrote:
> I'm with Mike Z. on this one.

I forget -- were you a groupie, or a minion? ;-)

"School Hard" was never one of my
> favorites. I laugh when Xander is madly looking for a stake in Buffy's
> bag, finds a tampon, and wigs. Other than that, very little stands out
> as special for me. The episode is important for what it introduces,
> but of all of season 2, it's probably my least watched.

There is one scene I really like -- when Spike is watching Buffy dance
at the Bronze. I really like the song that Nickel is playing (one of
the better band appearances, I think), and am always annoyed when the
underscore partially covers it up. The scene didn't need "uh-oh,
danger!" cues. A major mistep by Clement and Murray, IMHO.

SH is primarily a "move the plot forward" ep, and works fine as such.

I'll say this -- it's way better than the next one (which I'm assuming
AoQ has already watched). I can't even bring myself to watch IMG this
time. I'm moving on to Disc 2.

-- Mike Zeares

Don Sample

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Feb 4, 2006, 3:10:19 AM2/4/06
to
In article <1139028380.2...@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,

"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> shuggie wrote:
>
> > Spike and Dru are quite literally a response to the kind of criticism
> > you were making of The Master - that he's too much the standard horror
> > movie vampire. Joss says on one of the commentaries that he designed
> > them to be a bit more in sync with the rest of the show 'younger' (in
> > apparent if not real age), hipper etc.
>
> I'll grant that they fit the BTVS mold better. But my other problem
> with the Master was that he was such a stock character. By mid-season
> he'd turned into a fun stock character. By getting rid of him and
> bringing in Spike, we've just traded one stock villain for another. I
> tend to prefer Wisecracking Sadist to Ritualistic Eeeevil Maniac, but
> what might really be nice is someone who has the same depth as the
> heroes.

The Master was pretty much stuck underground making stock evil villain
mwa-ha-ha speeches. Spike gets to be out in the world, and interacting
with our heroes. There will turn out to be quite a bit of depth to his
character.

--
Quando omni flunkus moritati
Visit the Buffy Body Count at <http://homepage.mac.com/dsample/>

Shuggie

unread,
Feb 4, 2006, 6:08:56 AM2/4/06
to
Arbitrar Of Quality <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:
> shuggie wrote:
>
>> Spike and Dru are quite literally a response to the kind of criticism
>> you were making of The Master - that he's too much the standard horror
>> movie vampire. Joss says on one of the commentaries that he designed
>> them to be a bit more in sync with the rest of the show 'younger' (in
>> apparent if not real age), hipper etc.
>
> I'll grant that they fit the BTVS mold better. But my other problem
> with the Master was that he was such a stock character. By mid-season
> he'd turned into a fun stock character. By getting rid of him and
> bringing in Spike, we've just traded one stock villain for another. I
> tend to prefer Wisecracking Sadist to Ritualistic Eeeevil Maniac, but
> what might really be nice is someone who has the same depth as the
> heroes.
>

That's a fair point.

>> Actually he does have a special reason and I think it's important to
>> mention it. Spike is a vampire. He's a demon in a human body. He
>> doesn't need a reason to randomly hurt people - he gets off on it as
>> you say. He delights in chaos and mayhem.
>
> The show has chosen to portray its vampires as pure unfeeling evil. In
> some ways that's a shame.
>

I think I agree. However I think with Spike and Dru's mutual affection
we are seeing glimmers of something more than just 'pure unfeeling
evil'.

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 4, 2006, 8:49:19 AM2/4/06
to
In article <11u810m...@news.supernews.com>,

Absolutely.

vague disclaimer

unread,
Feb 4, 2006, 8:48:37 AM2/4/06
to
In article <1139028380.2...@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,

"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> wrote:

> shuggie wrote:
>
> > Spike and Dru are quite literally a response to the kind of criticism
> > you were making of The Master - that he's too much the standard horror
> > movie vampire. Joss says on one of the commentaries that he designed
> > them to be a bit more in sync with the rest of the show 'younger' (in
> > apparent if not real age), hipper etc.
>
> I'll grant that they fit the BTVS mold better. But my other problem
> with the Master was that he was such a stock character. By mid-season
> he'd turned into a fun stock character. By getting rid of him and
> bringing in Spike, we've just traded one stock villain for another. I
> tend to prefer Wisecracking Sadist to Ritualistic Eeeevil Maniac, but
> what might really be nice is someone who has the same depth as the
> heroes.

I think you need to be a little careful about judging what The Master
ended up as against what Spike *started* as.

Steve Schaffner

unread,
Feb 4, 2006, 11:40:12 AM2/4/06
to

Plus, it emphasizes how vacuous the character was before he dusted.

--
Steve Schaffner s...@broad.mit.edu
Immediate assurance is an excellent sign of probable lack of
insight into the topic. Josiah Royce

Stephen Tempest

unread,
Feb 4, 2006, 2:29:15 PM2/4/06
to
"Arbitrar Of Quality" <tsm...@wildmail.com> writes:

>The show has chosen to portray its vampires as pure unfeeling evil. In
>some ways that's a shame.

Even based on what you've seen so far, I don't think that's wholly
accurate: remember Darla, and her apparent love and jealousy for
Angel. That's something that's even more apparent in Spike and
Drusilla, of course.

Without getting into spoilers, let's just say that this isn't an issue
the writers are oblivious to...

Stephen

kenm47

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Feb 4, 2006, 2:40:18 PM2/4/06
to

I don't mind soulless vampire/soulless vampire emotional attachment or
whatever (we saw it with The Master in smaller doses as well). That
does not IMO make them less than pure unfeeling evil wnem it comes to
the non-vamps and the perfect PC villains brilliantly conceived.

Ken (Brooklyn)

Clairel

unread,
Feb 5, 2006, 12:28:05 AM2/5/06
to

Mike Zeares wrote:
> Daniel Damouth wrote:
> > I'm with Mike Z. on this one.
>
> I forget -- were you a groupie, or a minion? ;-)
>
> "School Hard" was never one of my
> > favorites. I laugh when Xander is madly looking for a stake in Buffy's
> > bag, finds a tampon, and wigs. Other than that, very little stands out
> > as special for me. The episode is important for what it introduces,
> > but of all of season 2, it's probably my least watched.
>
> There is one scene I really like -- when Spike is watching Buffy dance
> at the Bronze. I really like the song that Nickel is playing (one of
> the better band appearances, I think

--That's one of the great scenes I was going to mention when I had more
time, yeah.

It's hard for me to understand why that scene wasn't just electrifying
to AOQ.

Even if "School Hard" wasn't as important to me as it was to a lot of
other people because I never got to see it till three and a half years
after it first aired, I still savor certain scenes in it greatly.

My other favorite scene:

Buffy drops weapon on ground -- "Do we really need weapons for this?"

Spike -- "I just like them. They make me feel all manly."

But then he too drops weapon, and hand-to-hand fight ensues.

Great stuff! Far better than just "decent" IMO.

Clairel

Clairel

unread,
Feb 5, 2006, 12:33:34 AM2/5/06
to

Arbitrar Of Quality wrote:
> shuggie wrote:
>
> > Spike and Dru are quite literally a response to the kind of criticism
> > you were making of The Master - that he's too much the standard horror
> > movie vampire. Joss says on one of the commentaries that he designed
> > them to be a bit more in sync with the rest of the show 'younger' (in
> > apparent if not real age), hipper etc.
>
> I'll grant that they fit the BTVS mold better. But my other problem
> with the Master was that he was such a stock character. By mid-season
> he'd turned into a fun stock character. By getting rid of him and
> bringing in Spike, we've just traded one stock villain for another. I
> tend to prefer Wisecracking Sadist to Ritualistic Eeeevil Maniac, but
> what might really be nice is someone who has the same depth as the
> heroes.

--Mustn't say anything . . . keeping lips pressed together . . .
mustn't say anything . . .

> > Actually he does have a special reason and I think it's important to
> > mention it. Spike is a vampire. He's a demon in a human body. He
> > doesn't need a reason to randomly hurt people - he gets off on it as
> > you say. He delights in chaos and mayhem.
>
> The show has chosen to portray its vampires as pure unfeeling evil. In
> some ways that's a shame.

--Insofar as that was true, it was indeed a shame. It's the reason I
was never a big fan of BtVS in season 1. Vampires with no layers and
no complexity to them just didn't interest me. But as for season 2,
well, others on this thread have already addressed the issue about as
far as can be done without spoilers. 'Nuff said.

Clairel

kenm47

unread,
Feb 5, 2006, 1:37:13 AM2/5/06
to
"I don't mind soulless vampire/soulless vampire emotional attachment or
whatever (we saw it with The Master in smaller doses as well). That
does not IMO make them less than pure unfeeling evil wnem it comes to
the non-vamps and the perfect PC villains brilliantly conceived."

OCD: Make that "wnem" into "when" please.

Thanks,

Ken (Brooklyn)

David Sewell

unread,
Feb 15, 2006, 9:30:34 PM2/15/06
to
On Fri, 03 Feb 2006 14:31:42 -0500, EGK wrote:

> On 3 Feb 2006 06:00:34 -0800, "kenm47" <ken...@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> For an awful lot of people this is the episode where Buffy became something
> more than just another cute show. I don't mean just the Spike worshippers
> either.
>
> I really can't imagine anyone (Arbiter in this case) believing BTVS is
> anything more than a run of the mill tv show without rating this episode as
> excellent.

As someone following in AOQ's footsteps and watching the series for the
first time, I'd agree. "Prophecy Girl" was a powerful end-of-season show
and left me a bit stunned, but I can precisely identify the moment when
I felt BTVS had jumped to the next plane: in "School Hard" when Spike
crashed through the Sunnydale sign and said hello to the world (and us).
The show was throwing down a gauntlet: "You think you've figured out
the players and the formula? Take *this*!" And of course the episode
followed through.

hopelessly devoted

unread,
Feb 15, 2006, 9:44:40 PM2/15/06
to
>>As someone following in AOQ's footsteps and watching the series >>for the first time, I'd agree. "Prophecy Girl" was a powerful end-of->>season show and left me a bit stunned, but I can precisely identify >>the moment when I felt BTVS had jumped to the next plane: >>in "School Hard" when Spike crashed through the Sunnydale sign >>and said hello to the world (and us). The show was throwing down a >>gauntlet: "You think you've figured out the players and the formula? >>Take *this*!" And of course the episode followed through.

As someone who is following the Whedonverse for the umpteenth time, you
may find yourself repeating yourself.

Lord Usher

unread,
Feb 16, 2006, 2:40:03 PM2/16/06
to
David Sewell <dse...@virginia.edu> wrote in
news:pan.2006.02.16....@virginia.edu:

I've been missing out on the retro conversations till now, but I feel
like I ought to jump in here in defense of the underdog position --

"School Hard" is average at best. It's amusing enough, but it's an
utterly conventional actioner, complete with an overly obvious moral
("Friends and Family = Good!"), trite faux-subversiveness (Wow, Spike
doesn't care about some random made-up vampire thing! What a rebel!),
and uninspired villains.

That's right, I said it -- I was *not* impressed with Spike and Drusilla
at first blush. Too little Gothic atmosphere, too much Goth
pretentiousness. They grew on me in later eps -- well, Spike did -- but
I still find them rather silly and shallow here.

--
Lord Usher
"I'm here to kill you, not to judge you."

John Briggs

unread,
Feb 16, 2006, 3:30:46 PM2/16/06
to
Lord Usher wrote:
>
> That's right, I said it -- I was *not* impressed with Spike and
> Drusilla at first blush. Too little Gothic atmosphere, too much Goth
> pretentiousness. They grew on me in later eps -- well, Spike did --
> but I still find them rather silly and shallow here.

Not exactly Goth - they are punks. Although Spike's look is modelled on
Billy Idol, they are, of course, Sid and Nancy.
--
John Briggs


JJ Karhu

unread,
Feb 16, 2006, 4:29:51 PM2/16/06
to
On Thu, 16 Feb 2006 20:30:46 GMT, "John Briggs"
<john.b...@ntlworld.com> wrote:
>Lord Usher wrote:
>>
>> That's right, I said it -- I was *not* impressed with Spike and
>> Drusilla at first blush. Too little Gothic atmosphere, too much Goth
>> pretentiousness. They grew on me in later eps -- well, Spike did --
>> but I still find them rather silly and shallow here.
>
>Not exactly Goth - they are punks. Although Spike's look is modelled on
>Billy Idol...

. . . wee-eeelll, I wouldn't put it *quite* like that

:)

// JJ

John Briggs

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Feb 16, 2006, 4:47:19 PM2/16/06
to

Well, how would you put it?
--
John Briggs


Don Sample

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Feb 16, 2006, 5:24:45 PM2/16/06
to
In article <Wh5Jf.30859$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net>,
"John Briggs" <john.b...@ntlworld.com> wrote:

Actually, Billy copied Spike.

George W Harris

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Feb 16, 2006, 5:55:44 PM2/16/06
to
On Thu, 16 Feb 2006 21:47:19 GMT, "John Briggs"
<john.b...@ntlworld.com> wrote:

Shamelessly stolen from in its entirety?
--
"Intelligence is too complex to capture in a single number." -Alfred Binet

George W. Harris For actual email address, replace each 'u' with an 'i'

John Briggs

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Feb 16, 2006, 6:08:43 PM2/16/06
to
Don Sample wrote:
> In article <Wh5Jf.30859$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net>,
> "John Briggs" <john.b...@ntlworld.com> wrote:
>
>> Lord Usher wrote:
>>>
>>> That's right, I said it -- I was *not* impressed with Spike and
>>> Drusilla at first blush. Too little Gothic atmosphere, too much Goth
>>> pretentiousness. They grew on me in later eps -- well, Spike did --
>>> but I still find them rather silly and shallow here.
>>
>> Not exactly Goth - they are punks. Although Spike's look is
>> modelled on Billy Idol, they are, of course, Sid and Nancy.
>
> Actually, Billy copied Spike.

Am I being whooshed here? I didn't see a smilie.
--
John Briggs


William George Ferguson

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Feb 16, 2006, 6:52:53 PM2/16/06
to

Whooshed but from the distant future

ROT13
Va frnfba 7, Arire Yrnir Zr, Ohssl vf genpxvat Fcvxr naq nfxf n avtugpyho
qbbezna nobhg uvz, ur ersref gb uvz nf pbclvat Ovyyl Vqby, naq Ohssl
fgnegf gb pbeerpg uvz gung npghnyyl vg'f gur bgure jnl nebhaq.

--
HERBERT
1996 - 1997
Beloved Mascot
Delightful Meal
He fed the Pack
A little

John Briggs

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Feb 16, 2006, 7:36:04 PM2/16/06
to